When you are involved in a family dispute, whether it be divorce, custody, or other similar matter, it is important to keep in mind that electronic communications are admissible in court. This includes emails and text messages.

Otherwise reasonable people can lash out when they feel they have been pushed to their limit. Maybe the father has canceled parenting time at the last minute yet again, or mom made plans for the kids to spend the night with friends during dad’s parenting time. You want the other parent to know how you feel, so you send an email or text saying “You are such a %&@*# *@#*@#* jerk, you are a terrible parent.” Of course the possibilities are endless, but you get the idea.

Do NOT do this. An angry email or text message can be persuasive in court and make YOU look like the unreasonable party.

So what to do if you are really mad? First, do not respond immediately if you don’t have to. Wait until later in the day or the next morning if you can. Perhaps it will be therapeutic to type out the angry response you have brewing inside, but do not hit send.

Second, regardless of when you respond, presume the judge will be reading your message. Keep it sterile. Imagine you are sending a response to a boss or customer. You can express your disappointment and get your message across, just don’t do so using derogatory language or by attacking the other party.

As hard as it may be to refrain from letting the other party know exactly how you feel, keep in mind that the brief satisfaction you may get could have significant ramifications.